Basketball may eventually have to raise the height of the goal, but until such time, rule makers will deal with the realities of ever taller, higher-jumping players in other ways.
Two rule changes, which go into effect next season, indirectly recognize the big man's influence on the game.
The decision to eliminate all jump balls except to start games and overtime periods largely unburdens referees of a difficult task --towering players. (The pros actually went this route several years ago.) The team losing the opening jump will take the ball out at midcourt at the first subsequent jump ball situation, and the teams will alternately gain possession thereafter.
The other rule change was prompted by Ralph Sampson's controversial basket against Brigham Young in the NCAA tournament. The 7 ft. 4 in. Virginia center slamdunked the ball with his free hand braced against the backboard. The basket led to a five-point swing for Virginia, which capitalized on a technical foul against BYU's Danny Ainge, who thought Sampson's play was illegal. Actually Ralph did nothing wrong, since, at the time, the rule only prevented defensive players from vibrating the backboard. Next season, causing either backboard to vibrate during a shot or tap will result in a technical foul.